High level talks between India and China are expected to take place in Moscow over the next days in an effort to defuse ongoing tensions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) which, in the absence of an agreed border, separates the two countries.
Chinese Foreign Minister, Wang Yi and India's External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar will meet on the margins of a meeting of the 8-nation Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, which is expected to prepare for the SCO summit later this year, possibly in October. The meeting will take place today or tomorrow.
The meeting between the foreign ministers will follow a week after Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh met with his Chinese counterpart General Wei Fenghe, also in Moscow, to discuss easing LAC tensions, but made no breakthrough.
India and China accused each other of provocative action after a series of shots were fired across the LAC on Monday (8 September). China initially alleged that Indian troops had crossed the Line of Actual Control which separates the two sides, and fired warning shots at Chinese troops. India denies these accusations with a spokesperson asserting that it was the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) who violated the LAC and fired first
This marks the latest incident in a series of recent clashes over the disputed border. In June a violent skirmish broke out between troops on both sides, leading to the death of 20 Indian soldiers and an undisclosed number of Chinese casualties. But significantly, this was the first time in 45 years that shots had been fired along the LAC, since a 1996 agreement that neither side would open fire within two kilometres of the border.
This year's tensions over the border row have remained high between the two nuclear powers
The latest incident comes days after accusations that the PLA kidnaped five Indian civilians from close to the disputed border. According to local media, PLA soldiers allegedly crossed the border and abducted the Indian youths. Indian cabinet minister Kiren Rijjiju tweeted today on Tuesday (8 September) that the PLA "have confirmed that the missing youths from Arunachal Pradesh have been found by their side," and that arrangements were being made for their return.
Sources: Commonspace.eu, South China Morning Post (Hong Kong), The Hindu (New Delhi) and agencies
photo: Soldiers on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) separating Indian and Chinese forces in the Himalayas (archive picture)
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